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Barrel Culture brings fruit-forward wild ales to Triangle

Posted April 29

Barrel Culture Brewing and Blending is doing something different.

To see the difference, take a look at their beers. Line up the brews, and the yellow, orange, red and deep purple hues pop like the splashes of color from an ideal summer sunset.

When you're done looking, take a sip—the difference is in the taste, too.

The new brewery, which is hoping to open this summer, is bringing wild ales to the Triangle. Each beer is made with barrels full of fresh fruits, like peaches with dew still on the skins or blackberries picked fresh.

Brewer Steve English drops the fruit—think six pounds of peaches per gallon—into the brews and lets them ferment "spontaneously," mixing with yeast and bacteria that's naturally present in the air and on the fruit. Each beer then ferments in open oak barrels until it's ready to be moved.

The product is a tart and tangy beer that is unlike anything else being made nearby.

"(We) really wanted to create a brewery and push something that we felt like wasn't around here," English said.

He said other breweries are starting to make more fruited beers, too, which is the effect he was hoping to have.

"I think that's really the influence that we wanted to have," English said. "We really want the beer culture to sort of evolve locally, and I think by pushing the boundaries we're challenging people to do that."

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Get the inside track on all things beer in the Triangle and North Carolina from the 919 Beer blog.